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NYT: CA Voters ‘Appear’ To OK Pension Cuts

From the New York Times:

Voters in California Appear to Approve Pension Cuts

June 6, 2012

LOS ANGELES — As Wisconsin residents voted on Tuesday not to recall Gov. Scott Walker — who has become an enemy of labor unions nationwide — two California cities dealt blows of their own to organized labor.

In both San Diego and San Jose, voters appeared to overwhelmingly approve ballot initiatives designed to help balance ailing municipal budgets by cutting retirement benefits for city workers.

Around 70 percent of San Jose voters favored the pension reform measure, with almost 80 percent of precincts reporting. In San Diego, 67 percent had supported a similar pension reform measure, with more than 65 percent of precincts reporting…

Everyone else also says the vote was overwhelming. So what does this article have a headline that says they only "appear" to have approved the pension cuts?

Even the Associated Press does a better job:

2 California cities voters approve pension cuts

June 6, 2012

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Voters in two major California cities overwhelmingly approved measures to cut retirement benefits for city workers Tuesday in contests being closely watched as states and local governments throughout the country struggle with mounting pension obligations.

In San Diego, 67 percent voted in favor of Proposition B while 33 percent were opposed. More than 65 percent of precincts reported. The margin in San Jose was even wider, with 71 percent in favor of Measure B and 29 percent opposed. Nearly half of precincts reported.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed called the vote a victory for fiscal reform. "The voters get it, they understand what needs to be done," he said in an interview.

Supporters had a straightforward pitch: Pensions for city workers are unaffordable and more generous than many private companies offer, forcing libraries to slash hours and potholes to go unfilled.

"We believe people are tired of having services cut back because of big pensions," San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders, a Republican who is being forced from office by term limits, said recently.

Shrinking tax revenues during the recession are also responsible for service cuts, but pensions are an easy target. San Diego’s payments to the city’s retirement fund soared from $43 million in 1999 to $231.2 million this year, equal to 20 percent of the city’s general fund budget, which pays for day-to-day operations.

As the pension payments grew, San Diego’s 1.3 million residents saw roads deteriorate and libraries and recreation centers cut hours. For a while, some fire stations had to share engines and trucks

San Jose’s pension payments jumped from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million this year, equal to 27 percent of its general fund budget. Voters there approved construction bonds at the beginning of the last decade, but four new libraries and a police station have never opened because the city cannot afford to operate them

When have we ever gotten information like this from the AP? Maybe Walker’s victory is even having an effect on how the AP reports the news. If only for a day.

The ballot measures differ on specifics. San Diego’s imposes a six-year freeze on pay levels used to determine pension benefits unless a two-thirds majority of the City Council votes to override it. It also puts new hires, except for police officers, into 401(k)-style plans…

Under San Jose’s measure, current workers have to pay up to 16 percent of their salaries to keep their retirement plan or accept more modest benefits. New hires would get less generous benefits

Gosh, that is rough. Maybe all the public sector workers should just quit.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, June 6th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

2 Responses to “NYT: CA Voters ‘Appear’ To OK Pension Cuts”

  1. Astravogel says:

    And it ‘appears’ that there are mountains between Denver and San Francisco, too.

  2. yadayada says:

    it “appears” there is water 100 miles west of san diego

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